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Black House renovation steering committee to reconvene in December

Black House
A Black House renovation feasibility study was completed in 2017.

Northwestern University has committed to a renovation of The Black House located at 1914 Sheridan Road. In partnership with students, alumni, University stakeholders, Moody-Nolan architects and community members, the project is moving to the design development phase after Northwestern’s Board of Trustees approved the schematic design and the full renovation budget requested.

To move the project forward, the Black House Renovation Steering Committee is reengaging the group of students, alumni, faculty and staff this fall.  

“I'm excited for the ways in which all parties involved have come together to reinvent, restore and reform a Black House that merges the gifts of the past, the lessons of the present and the possibilities of what is to come for Black students, faculty and staff at Northwestern,” said Jazzy Johnson, (SOC ’13), a Steering Committee member. “It is challenging to hold all of the voices and stories weaved within the fabric of the Black House, but I believe those leading this renovation process have performed due diligence throughout the process.”

The project is rooted in a shared vision of what the Black House could be while respecting its historical significance to students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Evanston community. To learn more about the project, visit the Black House Renovation Project webpage.

“The support for Black student satisfaction and success is an important priority for campus. Building community, engagement and inclusion will be a continuing hallmark of the Black House and the Black students who thrive in the space and on campus,” said Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs. “I am grateful for all of the students, alumni, staff, faculty, community members and service providers who are working together to make this a reality.”

In fall of 2016, the charge to the Black House Renovation Steering Committee was to incorporate feedback from listening sessions, recommendations from the Black House Facility Review Committee, and information from the Black Student Experience Task Force report, along with additional feedback from key stakeholders, to determine the program, cost and approach to any proposed renovation of the Black House.

A feasibility study was completed in the summer of 2017 and shared with senior leadership. It received wide-spread approval and was moved to the schematic design phase in fall 2017. The Black House Renovation Steering Committee is slated to meet in this quarter to continue planning for the project. The design development phase is expected to conclude in spring 2019. For the complete project timeline, please visit the Black House Renovation Project Timeline

Once design development is completed, the construction timeline will be developed, taking into account various approvals both with Northwestern and with the City of Evanston. A temporary location for the Black House will be identified and named prior to beginning construction, and will incorporate student and community input.

“I am looking forward to the completion of the project for our Black and African-American students. Every opportunity for listening to Black students has been at the forefront of the planning process such as surveys, a portal for leaving suggestions and giving feedback, committee representation, and broad solicitation of feedback at community-wide charrettes,” Telles-Irvin said.

The University welcomes further dialogue, feedback and collaboration with our community. Campus Inclusion and Community can be contacted via email at

Topics: Diversity
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